Monday, March 4, 2013

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

 - A little history most people will never know


Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall tells many stories

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., honors members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in South East Asia, and those service members who were declared Missing In Action during the war.

Here are some things to think about:

Most of the surviving parents of those listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall are now deceased.

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.

Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the monument’s east wall, the names appear to recede into the earth (numbered 70E — May 25, 1968), then resume at the end of the west wall as it emerges from the earth (numbered 70W — continuing May 25, 1968) and end with a date in 1975. Thus the war’s beginning and end meet. The war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle’s open side and contained within the earth itself.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass., listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons listed.

39,996 of those on the wall were just 22 or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

The largest age group, 33,103, were 18 years old.

Twelve soldiers on the wall were 17 years old.

Five soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, Pfc. Dan Bullock, was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam.

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day of service in Vietnam.

Thirty-one sets of brothers are on the wall.

Thirty-one sets of parents lost two of their sons.

Fifty-four soldiers listed on the wall attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school.

Eight women are listed on the wall.

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War — 153 of them are listed on the wall.

Beallsville, Ohio, with a population of 475, lost six of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the wall.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on Jan. 31, 1968 — 245 deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 — 2,415 casualties were incurred.

(Statistics from

Keene lost five of her sons in Vietnam:

Lt. Col. Richard Owen Ganley
Staff Sgt. Kenneth Robert Hall
Warrant Officer William Michael Miller
Lance Cpl. Harold Kenneth Stevens, Jr.
2nd Lt. Michael Bernard Sweeney.

Remember, there are no noble wars, just noble warriors.

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